Could this device - finally - be, the piece in the puzzle, the holder and helper of having a healthy lifestyle? Assuming you are, generally, in working order, and can take a “hit” the Pavlok fitness band would literally jolt your routines. If you don't do your daily activity it'll send a 340 volt into you. Theoretically you won't screw up by laying down on the job next time. Does pain pay? You'll pay between $149 to $229 to buy it, when it hits the market in 2015: but that price-point pain isn't what we're talking about. Can personal pain be a motivator?
It might be a tad hard to believe that a sudden shock would imbue motion- when the constant shocking saga-story of a spare-tire belly and humpy-lumpy thighs hasn't done the trick. But if the latter, instead of inciting action, often invites, as we can sadly attest, lethargy and depression, perhaps a novel, painful, reminder might work. But might it not become an annoyance after a few times?
While a Pavlok prick may prove a point, the biggest point, nevertheless, is your commitment to change. Sure, some days, perhaps even inexplicably, you'll laze around, but if you aren't on your game more often than not, no device, no matter how new, how cool, or how intuitive will make an appreciable difference.
Who came up with the Pavlok fitness band? World, meet Maneesh Sethi. He’s a wilderness explorer, DJ, editor-in-chief, best-selling author, bio-hacker – and inventor. He thinks behaviors, like habits, have to be changed if one wants to meet goals. And negative feedback, literally, has its uses.
(We all have heard of positive feedback...)
Maneesh’s story: he says his productivity quadrupled when he had someone slap him for losing focus, specifically in Maneesh’s case, for venturing off into Facebook. From that in-your-face experiment he realized that the mind reacts differently to different stimuli, pro or con. He’d also make bets where he’d pay money if he didn’t do a desired task. He found such brain bending “stuff” very powerful. So, Pavlok would work for either breaking bad habits or forming new (good) habits. He gives an example of negative reinforcement. You miss work, you’d don’t get paid.
Maneesh wondered: What makes habits “stick?” Well, literally, habits are stored in the basal ganglia part of the brain.
His idea is: new habits are hard to imprint. Therefore, for the first few days, a penalty, rather than a reward, will be used to “do” the habit. Later, the positive will “reinforce” the habit. The stick before the carrot. It’s all thought out in what he calls the “Pavlok Habit Model.” Maneesh uses fitness for his habit example. For healthy habits to be ingrained you need 1) the ability to, say workout, five days per week, because your gym is close to work or home and 2) the motivation – knowing that if you do exercise those five days, you’ll reward yourself with a trip to a sunny spot. Let’s take his gym example. The first step is to get out of the house. The second step would be to show your gym card at the club. The third would be to exercise for 15 minutes. Habits, apparently, on average, take about 40 days to become automated and integrated. No doubt, permanent changes will take time – and effort. Maneesh reports, based on a London study of habits, that an easy habit, like drinking a glass of water after breakfast took 20 days to form. But, a hard-to-do habit, like doing fifty sit-ups after breakfast, took 84 days. (One sit-up would have taken 20 days to become habit forming.)
But – some ostensibly good habits – like exercising - can result in no improvement to one’s shape if exercises are done improperly – or if too much is done too soon with injuries following. So knowledge and common sense must be ever present.
A keystone habit would be to get active, because with this, other good things will invariably follow. You’ll smoke less. Drink less alcohol. Eat better.
The great news? Bad habits can be broken. The not so great news? Often it takes aversion therapy using negative stimulus, like shocks for smokers for example, to help break the habit. But desperate people will do “out there” things – and if it works for you, well, why not?
However, for vibration-to-shock therapy to work - one must want to break a habit. As Deepak Chopra maintains: “Once your mind begins to pay attention, your brain can build new neural pathways to reinforce…”
If you aren't on top of daily routine changes, like waking up earlier and forgoing TV or the computer at night, like taking a walk at lunch, or at least once daily, like getting friends and family members involved for inspiration, then this device probably won’t get to the bottom of why you seem to hold yourself back.
Try looking at the Pavlok Fitness Band as an adjunct to an armory of weapons used in the quest to better yourself. As an accessory, with your other ducks of diligence, dedication, and determination in a row, it could very well put you over the top in casting out bad habits and corralling in good habits instead.
A word of caution: with Apple Watch, which features fitness functionalities, coming out in 2015, it’s expected that fitness wearables will drop from 70.2 million units to 68.1 million units. No big shock. Apple is habit forming...